February Newsletter

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February Newsletter

February 28, 2019

Seven school districts in Lincoln County honored for efforts to improve health

Seven Lincoln County Public School Districts were honored recently for their efforts to improve health through the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) Healthy Incentive Program for schools.

Julie Bisbee, interim executive director, and Sharon Howard, TSET healthy incentive program manager for schools, presented a plaque and big checks to district superintendents. Sen. Jason Smalley, Rep. Kevin Wallace and staff from the TSET Healthy Living Program serving Lincoln County were also on hand for the presentation.

The districts being recognized for their efforts include: 

  • Agra Public School District - $12,000.
  • Carney Public School Public School District - $15,000.
  • Chandler Public School District - $20,000.
  • Davenport Public School District - $12,000.
  • Prague Public School District - $20,000.
  • Wellston Public School District - $17,000.
  • Whiterock Public School District - $15,000.

Lincoln County

Representatives from Lincoln County school districts being honored for efforts to improve health by TSET staff. Staff from the TSET Healthy Living Program serving Lincoln County, Rep. Kevin Wallace and Sen. Jason Smalley were on hand for the presentation

Stephenson Cancer Center hosts 2019 Research Symposium

Stephenson Cancer Center

The Stephenson Cancer Center hosted the 2019 Cancer Research Symposium in February to showcase cancer research ranging from cancer biology to cancer prevention and control. TSET-funded research that highlighted changing trends in nicotine and tobacco addiction were also presented at the symposium.

Dr. Dorothy Hatsukami, Associate Director for Cancer Prevention and Control and Director of the Tobacco Research Programs at the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center, presented her analysis on the addictiveness of cigarettes. Her research reflects that reducing nicotine levels in cigarettes has the potential to decrease smoking rates. After extensive testing, Hatsukami’s research showed that when daily smokers were exposed to lower nicotine doses in their cigarettes, their attempts to quit smoking increased. The results also showed a greater decline in smoking when an immediate reduction of nicotine was prescribed rather than a gradual reduction in nicotine dose.  

Even though there has been a rise in non-combustible product usage, the significance of reducing nicotine to minimally addictive levels in cigarettes is worth noting.

OCASCR honors founding scientific director, new director is named

Dr. Kincade

In December, Dr. Paul Kincade, Ph.D., retired from his post as founding scientific director for the Oklahoma Center for Adult Stem Cell Research (OCASCR), capping a distinguished career as a stem cell biologist that spanned more than five decades.

Kincade’s work helped establish a connection between chronic infections, stem cells and aging, and he made important insights on how the body replenishes its immune system.

In 2010, Kincade helped TSET launch OCASCR, with the mission of promoting research with adult stem cells in Oklahoma.

Since its launch, OCASCR has grown exponentially, funding more than 50 in-state researchers working on a wide range of stem cell studies. Kincade helped turn an investment of just over $21 million from TSET into nearly $98 million in additional grants supporting projects launched through this initiative.

“I’ve always believed in the promise of stem cell research, and I can’t recall a more exciting time for it,” said Kincade. “Our goal when we set out was to get Oklahoma scientists to start thinking about and working in this emerging area. I think we’ve succeeded, and I’m proud of that.”

This year, OCASCR named Courtney Griffin, Ph.D. its new scientific director. Griffin is also a scientist at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. OCASCR will expand its mission to include regenerative medicine, where scientists combine stem cell and developmental biology research into discovering new ways of repairing, replacing or rejuvenating disease-damaged organs in the body.

 “Dr. Kincade is an outstanding scientist and ambassador for the vision of OCASCR,” said Griffin. “He really got people excited and to pay attention to stem cell research in Oklahoma. He made OCASCR what it is today, and I want to continue with this remarkable template.”

*Pictured above: Dr. Paul Kincade, Ph.D., founding scientific director of the Oklahoma Center for Adult Stem Cell Research

Smokeless tobacco users encouraged to quit during Through With Chew week

Through With Chew

While youth vaping may be the topic on everyone’s lips, nearly 10% of high school students and more than 7% of Oklahoma adults use smokeless tobacco.

Through With Chew Week is a week-long initiative designed to reduce the use of smokeless tobacco. In support of the event, the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, a program of TSET, reminded Oklahomans of some common triggers and helpful alternatives to smokeless tobacco.

While smokers sometimes switch to smokeless tobacco as a method of quitting, it’s still extremely addictive. Someone who dips two cans a week gets as much or more nicotine as a pack-a-day smoker. Additionally, smokeless tobacco can cause cancer of the mouth, throat, cheek and gums, and contributes to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline provides FREE assistance to those thinking about quitting smokeless tobacco, including text and email support, phone and web coaching and a two-week supply of patches, gum, or lozenges for registered participants. To learn more about Through With Chew Week, visit Okhelpline.com/through-with-chew.

In case you missed it:

The Oklahoman: Program partners with business owners to increase smokefree bars

Brand Insight

TSET is working to educate policymakers on the need to plug holes in the state’s Clean Indoor Air laws and makes strategic investments across the state to combat the burden of tobacco use on Oklahoma families, businesses and communities.

One TSET program – Free The Night – engages bar and club owners seeking to provide a smokefree environment for patrons and employees. Free The Night seeks out bar owners and offers education, outreach and support to those wanting to voluntarily become a smokefree establishment.

To learn more about the benefits for bar owners and patrons of going smokefree, check out the full story here and for the whole suite of TSET stories on tobacco control and prevention click here.

Shape Your Future partners with Bart & Nadia Sports Experience to educate families on healthy behaviors

Bart & Nadia Sports Experience

Shape Your Future partnered with the Bart & Nadia Sports Experience this year to educate families about the importance of physical activity, sports, fitness, wellness and cultivating an Olympic spirit.

The three-day annual event attracted 250 students from six schools. The students were given the opportunity to participate in a variety of sports and activities, including kayaking, basketball, rowing, bicycling and more. Students rotated through more than 10 booths and participated in different types of physical activity for 15 minutes at each stop.

The Bart & Nadia Sports Experience also featured education on the importance of children getting 60 minutes of physical activity per day and filling half their plates with fruits and vegetables at each meal.

Each student went home with a Shape Your Future goody bag that included a healthy snack recipe and physical activity items to encourage healthy eating and moving more. Shape Your Future also provided equipment that could be used for physical activity at participating schools.

Exposing youth to different types of physical activity is a great way to encourage healthy behaviors and supports Shape Your Future’s goals of encouraging Oklahomans to eat better, move more and be tobacco free.